Concept art for The Last of Us 2.

During a panel discussion for The Last of Us Part II at this year’s PSX, the game’s director, Neil Druckmann revealed the whereas the first game was about love, the follow-up would be about “hate.”

The game’s bleakness came through in its announcement trailer, which included a sobering conversation about the people she needed to kill. A dead body lies on the floor. Her hands are calloused and scraped. If there’s any salvation to be found in the world of The Last of Us 2, it’s unclear whether Ellie is searching for it.

While the game is still far from release, Druckmann sat on stage at PSX with the voice actors for its two protagonists, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker. They discussed the performances behind the game, and where Naughty Dog wants to take the story next with Game Informer’s Andy McNamara.

“If the first game was really about the love between these two characters, this story is the counter of that,” Druckmann explained early on. “This is story is about hate, through Ellie this time. The first game you play as Joel, this game you play as Ellie.”

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Ellie is now 19, and the years spent surviving the collapse of civilization have taken their toll. “She’s gone through some shit,” Johnson said later during the discussion.

Naughty Dog is using new performance capture technology for The Last of Us 2:

With regard to worries that a sequel could somehow risk degrading the integrity of the original’s ambiguous ending, Druckmann said, “You have to understand that no one loves these characters more than we do, and we would not do this if we didn’t feel like we didn’t have the right idea.”

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“All I ask is that fans of the first one put some faith in us, trust we’re going to do right by them.” he continued. Druckmann also shared some concept art for TLOU2, and confirmed that Gustavo Santaolalla would be returning to score the new game.